Amsterdam, Holland, is known internationally for many things. Things like 'Coffee shops' and 'the Red light district', they ring a bell for most of us. Of lesser renown is the fact that Amsterdam is where one of the world's top-notch ska bands emerged in 1985 and they have been making essential, original ska music ever since.
Drummer Roel Ording and guitarist Arne Visser were already playing in bands around town when they met Dr. Rude, the vocalist who could cement their focus on ska and form Mr. Review in 1985. Initially, the band played many reggae songs, but quickly found their groove and replaced them with upbeat originals.
In 1988 the band records its very first release: the vinyl 12" 'Ice and Snow'. No record company was involved, only 500 copies were pressed. At that time there was a serious revival of ska going on, the 3rd wave.
Arne wrote down the addresses of some ska orientated record companies like 'Skank' and 'Unicorn' in Londen/England. He put a number of vinyl copies in his suitcase and headed for London. This simple approach, just ringing the doorbell and saying "hello......, I'm Arne from a dutch ska band, I'm looking for a record company" worked out. It resulted in a co-operation with Unicorn Records. First there was a Mr. Review song released on a Unicorn compilation album, than the band was urged to come up with a studio album as soon as possible!
In 1989, the band released its debut album, 'Walking down Brentford Road'. It was released 'Unicorn-Records'. The title was a reference to the street in Kingston, Jamaica, where the original Studio One was based. Three weeks after the release the band played at the Unicorn skafest in London. Unicorn Records didn't live a long life, but the album got distributed all over the world and gave the band an strong international push.
The next few years saw several contributions to compilations, an emerge from Dutch clubs to venues and festivals all over Europe, and as with any solid touring band, Mr. Review' started to release material on a regular basis. In the year 1994 the second studio album, 'Lock, Stock & Barrel', was released.
Th band appeared in the tv-film 'Die Bombe tikt'. It was broadcasted all over Europe.
1995 was a busy year for the band, the single 'The street where I'm living' was released, it claimed the band's anti racist point of view. A thing which needed to be done in the ska scene at that time.
Late 1995 saw the release of 'Keep the fire Burning', a live album and career overview.
Mr. Review was chosen by the readers of a German ska-magazine as the best foreign band! Also the albums got rewards.
The label 'MOON RECORDS' New York released a best of album called 'One way ticket to Skaville' for the USA market.
In 1997 the mini album 'Ships that pass in the night' was the new contribution.
1998. After thirteen years the band decided to split up. The last concert took place in the bands 'home-venue' 'The Tagrijn' in Hilversum/Holland.
Mr. Review's front men, Dr. Rude and Arne Visser couldn't resist their 'no band' situation. After appearing as guests at some festivals, joining other ska bands they started up a new band in 2001 under the name 'Rude & Visser aka Mr. Review'. Visser had been writing new songs, and during live shows a mix of 'old' and 'new' was played.
2002. The mini album 'RedRum' was released. It was recorded in Cologne/Germany. It proved that Mr. Review's typical original musical identity still was 'on board'. In the following years, the band was all over Europe again and did successful tours in countries like Germany, Belgium, France, Italy, Spain, Denmark, Switzerland, Austria, Czech Republic and Greece.
2009. The name 'Rude & Visser aka Mr. Review' was changed back to 'Mr. Review'. It was close to the bands 25 years anniversary. Recordings were started for a new album.
2010. The new studio album 'XXV' is released.
Mr. Reviews' interpretation of modern ska can be described as 'European'. It's grounded in 2Tone with strong melodic structures and heavy horns, and lyrics that are cut with a seriousness not expected from most Ska bands. It's a band which over the years contributed dedicated with their legitimate, unique Ska music. Be careful, the uptempo, sometimes melancholic, ear-catching melodies won't leave your head for a while!